• Gabe Powers

Grinding the Stream June 2020 UPDATES: Sci-Fi, Westerns, Documentaries & Other Leftovers

***This is going to be a mid-monthly tradition now, I guess. At least until social distancing standards are completely abandoned. Maybe even after that. Some updates will be bigger than others – it all depends on what differences I can find. I've also added HBO Max selections this month.***


Are you self isolating? Are you thinking about broadening your cinematic horizons? Perhaps you’d like to learn about a specific genre? I’m here to help. I'm finishing up the regular Grinding the Stream columns with everything I found that wouldn't fit anywhere else (stay tuned for one last super secret entry, though).


Once again, we're looking at the big three, Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, as well as smaller boutique paid services Shudder, Criterion Channel, and Fandor, and a collection of free streaming services available via Roku, Amazon Fire, Chromecast, et cetera. I compared a bunch and, for the sake of simplicity, I found the best in terms of content and video quality to be Tubi, Midnight Pulp (a "+" will be included wherever subscription fees apply), VUDU’s free selections, The Roku Channel, Shout Factory TV (though most of their titles can also be watched via Amazon Prime), Crackle, Popcorn Flix, Dark Matter TV (again, a "+" will be included wherever subscription fees apply).


Be warned – all of the free apps have ad breaks (I know, it sucks) and the video quality is inconsistent from app to app. Sometimes it's genuine HD, other times, it's sub-VHS. Apologies if I’ve suggested something with particularly grim A/V quality and be aware that the availability is based on the research I did on May 9, 2020. Given the nature of streaming media, I imagine very few of these titles will be available in perpetuity. I've included links to my own reviews of some of these films.


Alien Rip-Offs

Movies inspired by Ridley Scott's film are simply a personal favorite specific subgenre and most of the "best" ones are, surprisingly, available streaming

  • Contamination (Luigi Cozzi, 1980) – Amazon Prime, Shudder, and Midnight Pulp

  • Scared to Death (William Malone, 1980) – Amazon Prime

  • Inseminoid (Norman J. Warren, 1981) – Midnight Pulp

  • Galaxy of Terror (Bruce D. Clark, 1981) – HBO Max and Shout Factory TV

  • Forbidden World (Allan Holzman, 1982) – Amazon Prime and Shout Factory TV

  • Creature (William Malone, 1985) – Amazon Prime and Fandor

  • Lily CAT (aka: LILY-C.A.T.; Hisayuki Toriumi, 1987) – Amazon Prime, Roku Channel, and Midnight Pulp (super weird Japanese animated film)

  • Creepozoids (David DeCoteau, 1987) – Tubi

  • Shocking Dark (aka: Terminator 2; Bruno Mattei, 1989) – Amazon Prime and Midnight Pulp + (this is actually a dual rip-off of Aliens *and* The Terminator)

  • Dark Side of the Moon (D.J. Webster, 1990) – Amazon Prime and Midnight Pulp +

  • Syngenor (George Elanjian Jr., 1990) – Amazon Prime and Midnight Pulp

  • Dead Space (Fred Gallo, 1991) – Amazon Prime and Shout Factory TV (remake of Forbidden World)


Body Snatchers and Stolen Identities

  • Invaders from Mars (William Cameron Menzies, 1953) Amazon Prime

  • Project Moon Base (Richard Talmadge, 1953) Amazon Prime

  • Invasion of the Body Snatchers (Don Siegel, 1956) – Popcorn Flix

  • Goke, Body Snatcher from Hell (Hajime Sato, 1968) – Criterion Channel

  • The Stepford Wives (Bryan Forbes, 1975) – Amazon Prime and Tubi

  • Shivers (aka: They Came From Within, 1975) – Tubi and Popcorn Flix

  • Dead and Buried (Gary Sherman, 1981) – Amazon Prime, Shudder, VUDU Free, and Tubi

  • The Stuff (Larry Cohen, 1985) – Amazon Prime

  • Lifeforce (Tobe Hooper, 1985) – HBO Max

  • Invaders from Mars (Tobe Hooper, 1986) Tubi

  • The Borrower (John McNaughton, 1989) – VUDU Free and Popcorn Flix

  • Seedpeople (Peter Manoogian, 1992) – Tubi

  • Body Snatchers (Abel Ferrara, 1993) – VUDU Free

  • Star Trek: First Contact (Jonathan Frakes, 1996) – Popcorn Flix

  • Before We Vanish (Kiyoshi Kurosawa, 2017) – HULU

  • Annihilation (Alex Garland, 2018) – HULU and Amazon Prime

  • Us (Jordon Peele, 2019) – HBO Max

  • Assimilate (John Murlowski, 2019) – Netflix



Post-Apocalyptic Trash & Treasures

An awful lot of these disappeared in May. Either rights happened to run out or companies thought it was in bad taste, given the pandemic.

  • A Boy and his Dog (L.Q. Jones, 1975) – Amazon Prime, Criterion Channel, VUDU Free, Shout Factory TV, and Popcorn Flix

  • Black Moon (Louis Malle, 1975) – Criterion Channel

  • Death Race 2000 (Paul Bartel, 1975) – Criterion Channel, Fandor, and Popcorn Flix

  • Deathsport (Allan Arkush, Roger Corman, and Nicholas Niciphor, 1978) – Amazon Prime and Shout Factory TV

  • The Aftermath (Steve Barkett, 1982) – Midnight Pulp

  • Warlords of the 21st Century (aka: Battletruck; Harley Cokeliss, 1982) – Amazon Prime and Shout Factory TV

  • 1990: The Bronx Warriors (Italian: 1990: I guerrieri del Bronx; Enzo G. Castellari, 1982) – VUDU Free

  • Escape from the Bronx (Italian: Fuga dal Bronx; Enzo G. Castellari, 1983) – VUDU Free

  • Endgame (Italian: Endgame - Bronx lotta finale; Joe D’Amato, 1983) – Amazon Prime

  • The Exterminators of the Year 3000 (Italian: Gli sterminatori dell'anno 3000; Giuliano Carnimeo, 1983) – Amazon Prime and Shout Factory TV

  • Prisoners of the Lost Universe (Terry Marcel, 1983) – Amazon Prime and Midnight Pulp

  • Warriors of the Year 2072 (Italian: I guerrieri dell'anno 2072; Lucio Fulci, 1984) – Amazon Prime

  • Wheels of Fire (Cirio H. Santiago, 1985) – Amazon Prime

  • Steel Dawn (Lance Hool, 1987) – VUDU Free, Tubi, and, Popcorn Flix

  • Mutant Hunt (Tim Kincaid, 1987) – Tubi

  • The Sisterhood (Cirio H. Santiago, 1988) – Amazon Prime and Shout Factory TV

  • Bronx Executioner (Vanio Amici, 1989) – Amazon Prime

  • Dune Warriors (Cirio H. Santiago, 1991) – Amazon Prime and Shout Factory TV

  • Raiders of the Sun (Cirio H. Santiago, 1992) – Shout Factory TV

  • Tank Girl (Rachel Talalay, 1995) – Amazon Prime and HULU


Other B-Sci-Fi and Fantasy

  • StarCrash (Luigi Cozzi, 1978) – Amazon Prime and Shout Factory TV

  • Message from Space (Kinji Fukasaku, 1978) – Amazon Prime

  • Eyes Behind the Stars (Italian: Occhi dalle stelle; Mario Gariazzo, 1978) Amazon Prime and Shout Factory TV

  • Battle Beyond the Stars (Jimmy T. Murakami, 1980) – Amazon Prime, Shout Factory TV, VUDU Free, and Roku Channel

  • Hawk the Slayer (Terry Marcel, 1980) – Shout Factory TV

  • Space Raiders (Howard R. Cohen, 1983) – Amazon Prime and Shout Factory TV

  • Deathstalker (James Sbardellati, 1983) – Amazon Prime and Shout Factory TV

  • Wizards of the Lost Kingdom (Héctor Olivera, 1985) Shout Factory TV

  • Sorceress (Jack Hill, 1986) – Amazon Prime and Shout Factory TV (a personal favorite)

  • Deathstalker II (Jim Wynorski, 1987) – Amazon Prime and Shout Factory TV

  • Nightfall (Paul Mayersberg, 1988) – Amazon Prime, Shout Factory TV, and Tubi

  • Doctor Mordrid (Charles and Albert Band, 1992) – Midnight Pulp and Tubi (originally designed as a Dr. Strange movie, before the Band's lost the rights)



Revisionist Westerns

I’m going to assume folks have already seen the Quinten Tarantino, P.T. Anders, and Coen Bros westerns.

  • The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (John Huston, 1948) HBO Max

  • The Furies (Anthony Mann, 1950) – HULU

  • Johnny Guitar (Nicholas Ray, 1954) – HULU and Amazon Prime

  • A Man Alone (Ray Milland, 1955) – HULU

  • The Deadly Companions (Sam Peckinpah, 1961) – Amazon Prime and Tubi

  • One-Eyed Jacks (Marlon Brando, 1961) – Amazon Prime

  • The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (John Ford, 1962) – Amazon Prime

  • The Shooting (Monte Hellman, 1966) – Amazon Prime, HBO Max, The Roku Channel, and Tubi

  • Ride the Whirlwind (Monte Hellman, 1966) – Criterion Channel and Tubi

  • The Wild Bunch (Sam Peckinpah, 1969) – HBO Max

  • Little Big Man (Arthur Penn,1970) – Amazon Prime

  • Hannie Caulder (Burt Kennedy, 1971) – HULU and Amazon Prime

  • McCabe & Mrs. Miller (Robert Altman, 1971) HBO Max

  • The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean (John Huston, 1972)Amazon Prime

  • Chato's Land (Michael Winner, 1972) Amazon Prime

  • China 9, Liberty 37 (Monte Hellman, 1978) – Amazon Prime (almost a spaghetti western!)

  • Heaven's Gate (Michael Cimino, 1980) Amazon Prime

  • Dead Man (Jim Jarmusch, 1995) – Criterion Channel and HBO Max

  • Lone Star (John Sayles, 1996) – VUDU Free

  • The Proposition (John Hillcoat, 2005) – Amazon Prime, VUDU Free, Tubi, Crackle, and Popcorn Flix

  • Meek’s Cutoff (Kelly Reichardt, 2010) – HULU, Amazon Prime, Tubi, Dark Matter TV, Crackle, and Popcorn Flix

  • Django Unchained (Quentin Tarantino, 2012) – Netflix

  • The Nightingale (Jennifer Kent, 2018) – Amazon Prime and HULU


Documentaries About Cult Movies

  • Burden of Dreams (Les Blank, 1982) – Criterion Collection (the making of Werner Herzog’s Fitzcarraldo)

  • The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: A Family Portrait (Brad Shellady, 1988) – Amazon Prime

  • My Best Fiend (Werner Herzog, 1999) – Fandor and Shout Factory TV (Herzog explores his relationship with Klaus Kinski)

  • The Wild World of Ted V. Mikels (Kevin Sean Michaels, 2008) – Amazon Prime, Fandor, and Midnight Pulp

  • Henri-Georges Clouzot's Inferno (Serge Bromberg and Ruxandra Medrea, 2009) – Amazon Prime (the story behind Clouzot’s unfinished film)

  • I Knew It Was You: Rediscovering John Cazale (Richard Shepard, 2009) – Fandor

  • Best Worst Movie (Michael Stephenson, 2009) – Amazon Prime and Tubi (retrospective doc about the legacy of Troll II)

  • Nightmares in Red, White and Blue (Andrew Monument, 2009) – Amazon Prime (general look at ‘60s/’70s American horror movies)

  • Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy (Andrew Kasch and Daniel Farrands, 2010) – Shudder

  • Herschell Gordon Lewis: The Godfather of Gore (Frank Henenlotter and Jimmy Maslon, 2010) – Criterion Collection

  • Ray Harryhausen: Special Effects Titan (Gilles Penso, 2011) – Amazon Prime

  • Birth of the Living Dead (Rob Kuhns, 2013) – Amazon Prime (the making of Night of the Living Dead)

  • Milius (Joey Figueroa and Zak Knutson, 2013) – Amazon Prime and Tubi

  • The Search for Weng Weng (Andrew Leavold, 2013) – Midnight Pulp

  • Crystal Lake Memories: The Complete History of Friday the 13th (Daniel Farrands, 2013) – Shudder

  • That Guy Dick Miller (Elijah Drenner, 2014) – Amazon Prime and Popcorn Flix

  • Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley’s Island of Dr. Moreau (David Gregory, 2014) – Amazon Prime and Popcorn Flix

  • Turtle Power: The Definitive History of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Randall Lobb, 2014) – Popcorn Flix

  • Why Horror? (Nicolas Kleiman and Rob Lindsay, 2014) – Shudder (horror fandom and psychology)

  • Monster Madness (three parts: The Golden Age of the Horror Film, The Gothic Revival of Horror, and Mutants, Space Invaders & Drive-Ins; Jeff Herberger, 2015) – Amazon Prime and Midnight Pulp (these are mediocre, but enjoyable)

  • Leviathan: The Story of Hellraiser and Hellbound: Hellraiser II (Kevin McDonagh, 2015) – Shudder (in two parts)

  • Smoke and Mirrors: The Story of Tom Savini (Jason Baker, 2015) – Shudder

  • De Palma (Noah Baumbach and Jake Paltrow, 2015) – Netflix

  • Doomed! The Untold Story of Roger Corman’s The Fantastic Four (Marty Langford, 2015) – Amazon Prime and VUDU Free

  • At the Drive-In (Alexander Monelli, 2017) Amazon Prime, VUDU Free,and Midnight Pulp (about drive-in theaters, not the band from El Paso)

  • To Hell and Back: The Kane Hodder Story (Derek Dennis Herbert, 2017) – Amazon Prime, Shudder, and Crackle

  • 78/52: Hitchcock’s Shower Scene (Alexandre O. Philippe, 2017) – HULU

  • Unearthed & Untold: The Path to Pet Sematary (John Campopiano and Justin White, 2017) – The Roku Channel and Popcorn Flix

  • Becoming Bond (Josh Greenbaum, 2017) – HULU

  • King Cohen: The Wild World of Filmmaker Larry Cohen (Steve Mitchell, 2017) – Shudder

  • They’ll Love Me When I’m Dead (Morgan Neville, 2018) – Netflix (the making of Orson Welles’ The Other Side of the Wind)

  • Flesh and Blood: The Hammer Heritage of Horror (Ted Newsom, 1994) – Amazon Prime

  • Shirkers (Sandi Tan, 2018) – Netflix (story of an unfinished, teen-made Singaporean indie movie)

  • All the Colors of Giallo (documentary about gialli; Federico Caddeo, 2019) – Amazon Prime and Midnight Pulp +

  • The Dawn of the Kaiju Eiga (Jonathan Bellés, 2019) – Midnight Pulp (mostly about Godzilla movies)

  • Memory: The Origins of Alien (Alexandre O. Philippe, 2019) – Crackle

  • Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror (Xavier Burgin, 2019) – Shudder

  • Making Apes: The Artists Who Changed Film (William Conlin, 2019) – Amazon Prime and Tubi (documentary about Planet of the Apes make-up)

  • Cursed Films ( Jay Cheel, 2019) – Shudder (five part series)

  • Scream, Queen! My Nightmare on Elm Street (Roman Chimienti and Tyler Jensen, 2019) Shudder



Not Sure How to Categorize These Ones!

  • Eating Raoul (Paul Bartel, 1982) – Criterion Channel and HBO Max (Bartel's brilliant class and cannibalism comedy)

  • Peanut Butter Solution (Michael Rubbo, 1985) – Amazon Prime (utterly bizarre Canadian-made kiddie adventure/comedy/coming-of-age pseudo-horror movie)

  • The Stunt Man (Richard Rush, 1980) – Shout Factory TV and Popcorn Flix (a unique genre mash-up)

© 2020 Gabe Powers